Archive for October, 2010

Biblical Mii Characters

My daughter is unique.  In the past, I have used other adjectives like: quirky, odd, and “special,” but for now… we’ll go with unique.  Truthfully, she is exceptionally bright and exceptionally creative, which tends to make her very atypical.  She doesn’t fit well in a traditional educational system, which is geared toward the 80% of people who are “Left Brained” (who think traditionally).  She is Right Brained… way, way right-brained.

Yesterday, she had some free time, which usually meant that she was doing something “artsy” like drawing, or playing with clay, or reenacting an entire book or movie, complete with dialogue, using Poly Pockets and stuffed animals as cast members, but today, she was using my Wii Fit program.  I was in the office writing, so naturally, I assumed that she was exercising.  After two hours or so, as I emerged from my “cave,” I found that my daughter was still in front of the T.V.; Wii remote in hand.  I asked her what she was doing.  She just had to show me; she had created several Mii characters (Mii characters are, generally, avatars of real people – characters who look like you – who copy your movements as you flail on the wireless fitness board trying to beat your kid’s top scores which they achieved easily, but with a great deal of effort you were finally able to beat, letting them know that you’re not dead yet.).  My daughter’s first character, Mary, was tall with long black hair.  She was wearing blue.  Another was Peter, who had really big hair.  Paul had a beard.  I was beginning to sense a theme when sure enough, the tall, bearded, smiling guy next to Peter turned out to be Jesus.  Over the last two hours, she had created a small army of biblical Mii characters.  She then asked me to help her create Moses to complete her collection.  She didn’t know what Moses looked like, and had assumed that I was old enough to remember.  Maybe she thought that my Mii avatar was similar-looking.

Her thinking – the reason she made all these Bible Miis – was that while she was jogging on “jogger island,” she could run with some or see some of them waiving to her, since Wii Fitness characters are placed on the island at random to jog with you or wave and cheer you on.  She wanted Bible folks encouraging her!  Once she left jogger island, she might play doubles tennis against Mark and Luke, or go bowling with Jesus (I did warn her that Jesus would always win – he bowls a 300!  The guy’s perfect.).  She saw Wii Fitness as a world where family, friends and Bible characters could all live together and interact.  She created Wii Heaven.  I must admit that when I jog on jogger island — once a year or so — and I see Jesus waiving at me, it makes me happy.

Engineer’s Tan

Engineers have tans that end where their T-shirt begins.  Mostly this is an accident – when an engineer is given an office with a window.

As a IC layout engineer, I have often been accused of being a troglodyte – a cave-dweller.  This suits most of us layout folks just fine because we work on a black background and therefore light is bad.  Unlike most layout engineers, I work on a white background (having been trained-up in architecture, not IC layout).  I can also therefore handle light, but not too much.  Currently, I have a window office.  The light—it burns!  I keep the blinds closed except on rainy days.  It helps me to avoid an engineer’s tan.

Engineers as Athletes

For years, I played volleyball with other engineers. We all looked really “special” when we played.

All engineers have the same problem: their body betrays them.  When a normal guy is serving the ball, he’s concerned about ball placement.  But when an engineer serves the ball, he might start out with the basics: F=mA.  He might then do some rough d/v d/t calculations for ball drop, and then add rotational calculations if he’s more advanced and can spin the ball.  Engineers are completely baffled when the ball hits the net and it’s side out.  The calculations were perfect – it must have been the coriolis effect of the earth’s rotation – but alas, their body simply couldn’t do what their mind conceived.

This is also why we have mathletes.

The Pina Colada Song

I maintain that “The Pina Colada Song,” written by Rupert Holmes, whose song title is really “Escape,” is one of the worst songs ever written, yet it so fit the period in which it was written – a time of lose morals known as the “me decade” – and was therefore a huge hit.  It is kind of a catchy tune.  The gist of the song is that a lover is dissatisfied with his lady, so he reads an ad in a paper of a gal who is also dissatisfied, and he responds to the ad.  Turns out, the writer of the ad is his old lady.  They discover that they are writing to each other and they laugh about it; presumably staying together in renewed love afterwards.  My guess is that if Rupert were writing about himself in this song, then he’s a very lonely person right now; rich maybe, due to this one-hit wonder, but lonely none the less.  It’s only in the mind of a man that the song’s scenario would have a happy ending.  In reality, once the “old lady” realized that her man was looking elsewhere, and she herself was already looking elsewhere, there is no way the two would ever stay together.  Anyway, aside from the questionable content, there is a line that I have always found quite funny; not because it’s a funny line, but because if you listen to it on a bad stereo, as I did growing up, it sounds like it has a misplaced modifier.  The line I refer to is the start of the chorus:

If you like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain…

Now, while the lyricist will maintain that there is an “and” in that sentence, but when the song is sung, you can barely hear that “and,” and if you are listening through a poor quality stereo, the song comes out sounding like this:

If you like Pina Coladas getting caught in the rain…

This cracks me up every time… and actually, it’s very apropos: I don’t like Pina Coladas at all, so having them caught in the rain is fine with me – I prefer it!  A watered-down Pina Colada would taste better than a straight-up Pina Colada any day of the week.

The misplaced modifier at least made the song tolerable… as I thought about the demise of the Pina Colada; barely holding together this watered-down relationship.